Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Big Changes Coming

Noah turns 4 in a week.  Yesterday would have been his birthday if he'd been born on his due date. 

For me, it feels like he's been 3 for at least two years.

Partly because he's getting older and bigger, and partly because of his school schedule this Fall, some big changes should be coming soon. 

Before all of that, my parents and nephew are coming for a visit.  Noah's going to love having them here, and then he's going to be sad for a while after they're gone.  Ching's cousin came to visit last weekend, and he's still asking where she is sometimes. 

One change is that he's about to outgrow his crib.  We decided to wait until after the family visit to change it - one crazy thing at a time.  We can change the front of the crib to be a low bar so he won't fall out, but he'll be able to get up and out of bed if he wants to.  We're not really sure how he's going to do with that. 

For the past month or so, he keeps waking us up in the middle of the night (sometimes two or three times) to turn his Sophia The First soundtrack back on. So we're pretty ready for him to be able to get up and do that sort of thing for himself! Of course, we're also expecting him to play with his toys half the night and fall asleep in the middle of his floor.  

We're also going to have to get night lights for our stairs (thankfully, for some odd reason there are not one but two outlets on the walls of the stairs).  We'll have his door closed and the kid proof handle so he can't get out and around.  But, if/when this dear child ever really does potty train and needs to get up and pee - well, then we can't have him "locked" in his room.  

Seriously - how often do 4/5 year olds get up and go pee in the middle of the night?

Yes, then there's potty training.  We haven't pushed him on this.  For the whole last year at pre-school, they would go to the potty every day and he learned how to pull down his pants/diaper and sit and pee.  If you tell him to go pee, fine, he will.  But, even when we tried regular undies and training undies, he would just pee and not tell us he needed to or that he was bothered by it.  Ugh.  

Again, after the family visit, we're going to have to get a little more serious about training.  He loves lollipops and Starbursts and stickers - so we'll see if bribery/rewards work.


Then there's the new school year.  Instead of MWF from 9-12, he'll be going M-F 12-3.  

That means no more naps.  

The upside is that hopefully means 8 pm bedtimes instead of 10:30 bedtimes.  We've been bad about late nights this summer.  

It's going to be weird not having to get up for school.  Noon to 3 isn't always his best time of day, but it'll be fine.

We know he really misses school and playing with his friends all the time.  

Lots of fun the next 6 to 8 weeks.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Noah's First Misheard Lyrics

Starting last week, Noah's new favorite song is Back In Black.  I'm a little proud of that.  For the past three days, when the song would be on, Noah would yell "LIONS" from the back seat.  We were puzzled.  Whenever he tells us things from the backseat, like fire truck, or bus, or balloons, or lights, he's never wrong.  So we had no idea where this Lions thing was coming from.  We'd repeat it and he'd say "yes, lions". 

Today we decided to pay closer attention to the song and see what it said when he yelled "LIONS".

It's the lyrics "I've got nine lives..."  He hears "I've got LIONS" I guess. 

Which, hey, would be way more cool than nine lives!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Noah-isms

As Noah's vocabulary and speaking grow, we're getting more funny things he says.

Currently, The best one is "I'm Fine!"  We're not sure where he got it.  It started about a week ago.  The best use of it was one evening when we were watching videos of him as a baby (we tried to tell him it was him, but he said, "No, that's not me, that's a BABY") and we asked him, as we do every so often, if he wanted a baby.  His answer, "No, I'm fine, no baby."  Ha!

If he's watching his cartoons or something and you ask him to do something else, he'll answer, "no, I'm fine."  

He has also learned that a very loud "HEY" by me is often followed by "STOP IT" so now he says STOP IT before I do. 

If he's sitting close to you and wants to request something, like a snack, he'll get closer and whisper it to you.

The only princess Noah has watched is Sofia.  Yet, he will still get a stick and point it at Ching or and I "make" us a princess.

Oh yeah.  He's also the most polite toddler!  Anytime anyone sneezes, or if he sneezes, you have to say Bless You, or he does.  He uses Thank You and You're Welcome all the time, even in his play time with cars and trucks.  So sweet!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Crazy People

We did it.  We got brother and sister kittens that are about 8 or so weeks old.  Yikes!

It's been just over three years since we lost our Little Man and Silly cats.  Every so often we talk about how we miss having cats to boss us around, and sit and walk on us, and you know, be cats.  We had talked about getting just what we got - very young siblings. 

We've tried to wait and be patient.  Wait for Noah to be a little older.  Wait for Ramen to... well....

But, today when we took Ramen for his bath, there were four sets of sibling cats.  Two solid black, two grey, two white/calico, and the two we got were actually three when we first saw them.  The one that was more calico was adopted before we decided to actually go back and get them. 

The girl is all white with a splash of grey on her head.  The boy is mostly black with some white.  I had wanted more colorful cats, but these were so sweet. 

We have the cats in a medium sized crate, letting them get use to the smells.  We put them in our room, put Ramen outside our room, and let them run around a little.  So far, they're very quiet and didn't even Meow on the car ride.  The boy is more rambunctious.  They'll sleep in the crate for a while.  Then have more freedom in our room, then the downstairs, then we'll see how long it takes them to venture upstairs. 

We know it's going to be a slow process acclimating everyone to each other.  The cats to the house, to us, to Ramen, and to Noah. 

So far, Ramen couldn't care less.  We're hoping he's too old to chase them like he did our other cats.  We're also hoping they're young enough to not hate him on sight! 

Noah.  Well, he's a little harder.  He gets excited and squeals.  That's not good.  He also wants to throw their little toys at them for them to play with.  He'll get more used to them and be more calm - soon, we hope.  There's a fine line in disciplining him around the kittens enough to make him gentle with them, but not too much that he associates the kittens with getting in trouble.

That's what we did today. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Resistance

More thoughts on schooling.

I think Ching and I are both feeling some resistance to the idea of Noah going to the special needs class.

The goal of his teacher and special ed helper are to get him ready for kindergarten.  That's a fine goal.  But I don't know that it's a goal we share.  To me, it feels like we're taking a great kid and making him conform to a system that isn't designed for him.  Yes, cue my rants against schools and how they're designed for girls and not boys or at least not our boy.  We've always felt that he won't sit still for story time because well, he doesn't like story time.  He'd rather be running.  But maybe we're wrong.  Maybe he doesn't like story time because it's all just words coming at him, and he's not good at listening to stories as opposed to watching videos.  Regardless, even a "play centered" preschool seems to be a bad match for our boy.  I think that if he needs this much help then maybe school isn't for him. 

The counter argument that's always in my head after my anti "girl" schools, is that apparently the majority of boys do just fine.

The biggest problem is that there just isn't an alternative right now.  We don't have a social network where he can make friends and play with kids outside of school.  And he's not old enough yet for sports to fill in that gap.  I can't take away his time with friends at school and home school him just because I don't like the whole set up of school.  That might be an option in the future, but it's not for now.

There's also not a big choice of alternative schools.  I know a lot of people like Montessori, and he might do better there, but even the ones that might be within driving distance cost $20,000 a year and UP.  That's not in our reality. 

So I feel like we're stuck.  I keep reminding myself this is about what's best for Noah, but it's so hard to know what that is. 

In a perfect world - Noah would have an older brother to mitigate a lot of this, to run around with, and play with, and to learn with.  We often blame whoever hands out babies for making this grave mistake.

In an ideal world -  we would live in a neighborhood in a small town with lots of other kids, and Noah and those kids would spend their time like Ching and I did growing up, playing, running, riding backs, playing hide n seek and tag. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tough to Hear, Tough to Decide

Most days in life with a toddler pass on by.  The school days, the park days, the good and bad days.  No big milestones, just getting better at the little things, or just melting down over the little things (us and him).

Today we went to the parent/teacher conference.  His teacher and his special ed helper were there. 

Noah has come such a long way this school year.  He loves going to school, he loves to see his friends and kind of play with them.  His communication, while still pretty behind, has improved so much.  He understands how to follow what the group is doing.  He shares well.  His teachers said one day he even gave her a big hug and said "so sorry". 

But, both ladies feel like he'd do better in a special needs class/school next year than the regular one at the preschool he's in now.  That class would have eight special needs kids and four normal kids.  There would be three teachers in the room and Noah would get lots of help and attention.  They were nice and said he could be a leader in that classroom instead of probably struggling a little in the school he's in now. He would go M-F 9 to 12 instead of just M-Th. 

It's amazing to us just how much his lack of communication affects so many other things. 

The school they recommend is where he goes once a week for his speech therapy.  While he's in therapy, I sit and just take in what's going on.  He gets there the same time the afternoon classes get there.  My impression is the kids are good kids, a few are physically handicapped, I think most have sensory or language or behavioral issues.  The staff seem overwhelmed by paperwork and procedures, but are always great with the kids. I think there are maybe three classrooms and it has a great playground we've gone to on some weekends. 

His teachers this year, and his special ed helper, have been really wonderful working with him.  For the past two or three months they've pretty much had one of the teachers handle him one on one when he needs it.  His teacher explained that in the class next year, that probably wouldn't be possible. 

They also really emphasized that getting him all of this help next year will move him closer to needing help less in the future - early intervention and all.  And we are so grateful to even have these choices. 

It's just a little hard for us to put our heads around it all.  Until this morning, Ching and I have never thought of Noah as "special needs".  Noah is such a smart kid.  We usually attribute his off times at school as being immature.  But it's also stemming from his communication limitations.  He gets frustrated.  We know here at home that impulse control is not his strong suit yet.  We just never know where it falls in comparison to other kids. 

This year he's had two main problems (other than a short attention span) one is he loves to throw things, and when he does, of course it sometimes hits the other kids, and he's had trouble pushing kids, because he wants to get their attention and that's the fastest way.  These actions have the unfortunate side affect of other kids thinking he's not being nice sometimes. If that continued next year, it would be a little worse for him.  He has a hard enough time with classmates due to his limited ability to talk with them. 

We're glad there would be normal kids in his special needs class.  We can't help be wonder how the other kids will influence him.  But really, I sometimes think that he has such a sweet heart, it'll all work out. 

It's all also a little funny, because if Noah didn't love being around other kids so much, he wouldn't have been in preschool at all. 

The choice is ours on which school to send him to.  But I think we know which way we have to go.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Noah At The Park

We've been lucky that the last two Saturdays have been nice, spring-like days.  The rest of the days, not so much.  Ugh.  This winter has been the worst.

Anyway.  Those few, few days of warmth have renewed Noah's insistence on park time.  He wants to go to the park twice a day, every day.  It's 40 outside this evening, and poor Ching still had to take him to the park. 

The sweetest thing Noah does at the park is at the big slide.  There's a really big slide at one of the parks we go to.  Several trips ago, Ching started saying "one, two, three GO" for him and the other kids.  Yesterday, a couple of times when other kids were at the top of the slide, Noah would stand at the bottom and say "one, two, three GO" and when they slide down he'd clap and say "good job!!" 

We've learned to keep a ball in the car for him to throw and kick.  He'll find any Dad/Granddad there and say "Catch" (which they don't usually hear) and then throw or kick the ball at them.  Heh.  (One of these days we'll find a cool Dad to hang out with Noah.) 

The downside to Noah at the park is that no matter which park we go to, he tends to wander off from the actual playground area into the water, or mud, or the walking trail.  Seriously?  Playgrounds just can't contain him! 

Once school is out, I'm going to get Noah a week or two of swim lessons - ok, play in the water without crying or dying lessons.  And might look for an indoor soccer program or something.  But mostly, we'll be at the parks.  Probably even twice a day.